Bentleigh transport

Bentleigh/Mckinnon/Ormond grade separations: Lots of detail

To their credit, the state government is initiating Stakeholder Liaison Groups for the level crossing eliminations to happen across Melbourne.

The first of these covers the three Bentleigh area crossings: North Road, Ormond; Mckinnon Road, Mckinnon; Centre Road, Bentleigh. It’s convened by local MP Nick Staikos, and members include representatives from local traders, schools, community groups and public transport users. The latter is myself, as a local and with my PTUA hat on. (Note it’s not a group just for interested individuals — there are public forums for that — see below.)

Ormond/North Road level crossing

The first meeting occurred last week, with an overview briefing from the Level Crossing Removal Authority and contractor John Holland. The representatives at the meeting were very helpful, gave a lot of information and took a lot of questions.

Below I’m going to dump a bunch of notes — both information conveyed at the meeting, and some comments from me thrown in as well.

Any errors, misunderstandings or omissions in the information below are my own.

While part of the role of group members is to share project information out to those in the community who are interested, I should emphasise that I do not speak on behalf of the Stakeholder Liaison Group, or any other members. And any journalists reading who want more information should seek it from the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA).

Initial projects

The pledge was for twenty crossings in this term of government, thirty the next. (The full list is here — most of them make sense with the possible exception of Werribee Street in Werribee, unless the Metro line is extended through to Wyndham Vale.)

In the Bentleigh area, three plus Burke Road, Glen Iris were awarded to John Holland and friends at a cost of $524 million.

Two in St Albans (Main and Furlong Roads), Blackburn Road, Blackburn, and Heatherdale Road, Heatherdale were awarded to Leighton and friends at a cost of $480 million (including a Commonwealth contribution of $151 million).

Add the nine along the Dandenong line (yet to be awarded, but there is a shortlist just announced), and that’s seventeen of the twenty, with the next three yet to be determined.

The Bentleigh area grade separations is the focus of the rest of this blog post.

This project (and I think the others also) is handled by what’s termed an alliance, consisting of: LXRA, VicRoads, PTV, John Holland, KBR Construction (the designer) and Metro.

Bentleigh station and level crossing

Overall design

For better or worse, all three grade separations will be rail under road. (I hope they are actively considering other options which may provide better community outcomes more cheaply, but given the Ormond design had already advanced considerably last year, I’m not surprised all three will take this option.)

There’s to be no net loss of station parking. Some parking will need to be rebuilt, and apparently the standards now are different, with bigger spaces, so they are looking at options such as increasing spaces at Glenhuntly to make up for any loss of spaces at the rebuilt stations. This may be an issue with other grade separation projects as well.

The Dorothy Avenue underpass (midway between Ormond and Glenhuntly) will become pedestrian/cycle only. — Update: This was changed; it will remain as-is. See update links below.

To my surprise, between stations the line will come pretty much back up to ground level. One of the main reasons for this is the high water table — some fairly elaborate designs are being used to ensure drainage isn’t made any worse, and this includes identifying paths for water flow underneath the railway line, and technology to keep water out of the railway alignment where the line is below the water table.

This also helps them with the various underground utilities which either have to be avoided or moved (expensive!).

Brighton sands are also likely to cause some challenges during excavation. (See also: Melbourne geology.)

All this should serve as a reminder that elevated rail may be a better/cheaper option at some locations.

The grade of the line will be no more than 2%, to allow freight trains to continue to use it.

With the track at ground level near Murray Road (between Ormond and Mckinnon), the hope of a pedestrian crossing of the railway line appears to be dashed. They are resistant to an at-grade pedestrian crossing due to safety risks, and an overpass would have very long ramps due to DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) requirements. And I’m sure they suggested the ramps would stretch almost back to North Road. Hmmm.

Impressive sounding statistics: They’ll remove a lot of earth during the construction, with some 280,000 cubic metres taken out, and bring in 12,000 cubic metres of concrete. It’s a big project.

Plan for new Mckinnon station (as at May 2015)
Indicative plan for Mckinnon station from May 2015. Subject to change.


Ramps, lifts and steps likely at all three stations.

Three tracks maintained, with “passive provision” for a later fourth track (which similar to Springvale, seems to mean not building anything in the way of it).

Mckinnon and Bentleigh to have retail shop frontages built into the structures.

It appears bus stops will be moved closer to station entrances, which is good, though it sounds like precise locations haven’t been finalised. This is particularly an issue at Bentleigh presently, where westbound bus stops are awkwardly placed, and at both Mckinnon and Bentleigh there is no nearby pedestrian crossing to access them — with the new designs, there will be pedestrian crossings directly outside the station entrances.

I wonder if it would make sense to re-route bus 625 at Ormond — at present it runs eastbound via schools in Leila Road, but westbound via North Road, probably because the lack of traffic lights makes it impossible to make the westbound trip via Leila Road.

Interestingly the Ormond traders may campaign for a lower speed limit on North Road once the level crossing is gone, so their shops aren’t a blur in motorists’ windows as they pass. This makes sense as a traffic calming measure — the Bentleigh shopping centre is a 40 zone from 7am-7pm, and Mckinnon has no signage, and therefore is 50 (the default speed limit in built-up areas — though I suspect many people treat it as if the limit is 60). It sounds like VicRoads is resistant to a lower limit on North Road though. It’s now 60, though once was 70… but it is flagged under the SmartRoads scheme as a priority pedestrian area, though it’s also part of a preferred traffic route.

There will be limited provision for possible future decking of the rail line. (I would note that while this is often talked about, there so far have only been very limited examples where it’s actually proven to be economically viable.)

Bentleigh, being a Premium station, will get Myki fare gates. Ormond, being a Host Station, will get provision for future Premium status, including gates, but for now will have standalone Myki readers. Mckinnon (neither Premium nor Host, though you sometimes see Host staff on duty there) will have standalone Myki readers and it sounds like it may have only limited provision for later upgrade.

One consequence of the gradients is that the station platforms will go under the roads, which helps provide extra weather cover.

I asked if it also allowed the option of an extra station entrance on the other (southern) side of the road. Initially they cited DDA requirements — the need for more long ramps and lifts. I pointed out that DDA access was via the other entrance. After all, not all access points into a station (or any other building) need to be DDA-compliant, otherwise stairs would no longer be allowed, at all. They changed tack and said that a second entrance causes issues with sight lines for passive surveillance for staff (including PSOs), as well as staffing issues for gates. They may have a point.

(There are times when it seems to me that DDA is used by some organisations as a convenient way of dismissing an option that they don’t want to provide.)

Plan for new Bentleigh station (as at May 2015)
Indicative plan for Bentleigh station from May 2015. Subject to change.

Construction schedule

Traffic modelling tells them chaos would break out if they tried to close North and Centre Roads at the same time. Fair enough. Instead, they’ll stage things in such a way that at least one of them is open.

They’re also wary of closing half of North Road at a time and building the overpass in halves… it sounds like it has more cons than pros.

There are likely to be numerous weekend closures over the life of the project. During road closures, it’s likely that pedestrian access will be made available across the tracks (after all, trains won’t be running). Obviously buses will need to be re-routed as well, and they’re in discussions with bus companies about this.

So, the indicative schedule at the moment is:

Note: the schedule was later modified, with the major construction during July 2016, and completion of the project in late 2016.

July/August 2015 Test works
September/October 2015 Piling works, using some fancy new technology to avoid lots of noise called a “silent piler”, though they noted it’s not exactly silent!
2016 during winter school holidays Centre Road closed for 9 days.

Sounds like they are planning for early decommissioning of one track (the “up”, or westernmost track I believe) immediately after the Caulfield Cup in October 2016, which will obviously mean some timetable changes to deal with the current use of three tracks in peak. (It’s been done recently during major level crossing works at Glenhuntly. From memory they made the expresses stop at the MATH stations, and the stopping trains ran express. That meant no need for overtaking.)

November 2016 Close Mckinnon station and demolish. You’ll still have the option to walk to Bentleigh or Ormond!
December 2016 Close and demolish Ormond and Bentleigh station (with the line left open). Tip for Bentleigh peeps: for the time the station is closed but the line is open, it’s not too far to walk to Patterson, and since the January 2015 changes, the fare is the same.
27 December 2016 Close the line completely for 34 days and do major works.

Given the locations where trains can be shunted/reversed, I’d expect the section of the Frankston line from Caulfield to Moorabbin to be closed during this time, with “bustitution” (substitute buses) running instead. Given this is one of the busiest lines, I’m hopeful they will put some thought into where people are going, and not simply try to replicate the train service with the buses, which often doesn’t work well due to local road layouts.

One idea successfully used on the Regional Rail Link project was to provide cross-town links into other railway lines, where connections can be quick — linking the southern half of the Frankston line from Moorabbin through to Brighton Beach, with extra Sandringham line trains, might be an option for instance.

End of January 2017 Line re-opens — but not the stations just yet!
End of February 2017 Stations re-open, minor works continue.
Mid-2017 All works complete — well before the 2018 election!

Bentleigh level crossing

Where to from here?

All these details are of course subject to change as planning progresses.

A public forum has been set up: 7pm Wednesday 29th July, at Mckinnon Secondary College.

It’s not confirmed yet, but I believe the plan is for a drop-in info session the next day, or soon afterwards. I’ll post details here when that’s confirmed.

It’s exciting to see this project (and others) moving ahead. Removing the level crossings really will make a difference — whether you’re on foot, on a bicycle, in a car or a bus. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve missed my train due to a long wait at the gates.

How they handle the disruptions of course will be critical, especially for the extended closure of the stations and rail line.

Later updates: October 2015 / November 2015

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

52 replies on “Bentleigh/Mckinnon/Ormond grade separations: Lots of detail”

“…the possible exception of Werribee Street in Werribee, unless the Metro line is extended through to Wyndham Vale…”

Don’t forget that the SG freight trains – (not sure about BG) – still run through here…not a completely silly idea… :)

Interesting post. I do wonder if the new station at McKinnon will be a forbidding place, with platforms out of sight in a concrete cutting/partially decked over by an overpass, with no staff during the day and only small numbers of passengers outside of peak hours.

It reminds me slightly of Ardeer Station on the Ballarat/Geelong lines, which is situated between two roads so anything going on at the station could until recently be seen by passing traffic or pedestrians, but they put up huge noise barriers as part of the RRL project that make the station feel fenced in.

@Anonymous, a small number of freight trains still use the crossing, but that doesn’t mean it should somehow be in the top 50 when there are something like 140 more around Melbourne that aren’t being done.

L2 – With the use of colours and lighting – these types of stations are much more user friendly. If in doubt get down to Springvale, Nunawading, Mitcham and even Boronia (which I think was the first grade separation done in 98 or 99)

Daniel – Many thanks for releasing the information it is good to have some info flowing.

I can’t understand the reluctance to add extra station entrances when we mostly operate on a proof-of-payment fare system. The station platforms look straight so I can’t see the problem of ‘line of sight’. In any case there’s no need to have direct line of sight to every entrance – PSOs have feet and can walk around! Otherwise CCTV could cover any blind spots if deemed absolutely necessary – but there’s presently plenty of blind spots where it doesn’t seem to be.
Gates (not myki gates, just regular ones) could be present but usually open, and only closed if there’s a ‘ticketing blitz’ on so that only one entrances need be staffed.

There’s a huge plus to running the platform under the road and having entrances either side of the street. It saves much time entering/exiting the station as there’s no need to wait for crossing lights on the road (nor hold up car traffic, even recognising these are just people too and no more or less deserving of priority) [well, arguably less being in a less space-efficient mode].

Add up the person-minutes saved – at 10,000 boarding a day, and half coming from one side of the road, twice a day; something like 20,000 minutes saved each and every day if the crossing delay is just 2 minutes. For infrastructure that might last 50-100 years it seems like a good deal. It would also effectively extend the ped-shed by making it that much easier to walk, or transfer to public transport the other side of the road (bus, tram), potentially boosting patronage further again.

And Daniel you’re right to point out that you only need one DDA access per station. More is better, of course, but not always possible.

In a program of 50 crossing removals, it would be a tragedy to miss these opportunities.

Very interesting post. Thanks for taking the time to gather the information and writing it. Since they are doing a large number of crossings they will probably learn a lot of techniques from the first few and the later ones will go more quickly and smoothly. The above road crossings would be cheaper than all of the digging and water problems but would surely be complained about as being unsightly and blocking views. Both methods along with the costs and savings of each could be proposed for a future crossing to see what the public has to say about them. Boston recently completed “the big dig” which eliminated a large above ground expressway and buried the entire thing underground.

“They are resistant to an at-grade pedestrian crossing due to safety risks, and an overpass would have very long ramps due to DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) requirements.”

This sort of attitude makes me very angry. Rail lines inevitably block people from walking to the shops, to the park, to the bus stop. It doesn’t help disabled people by preventing everyone else, who can walk, from getting around their neighbourhoods.

Rerouted bustitutions has worked well in the past.
Two examples that come to mind are Elsternwick – Caulfield when Ripponlea – Prahran is closed, and East Malvern – Alamein when Glen Iris – Heyington is closed.

Great post. You are helping to “keep the bastards honest” (but in a very constructive way).
Perhaps in coming weeks you could talk about the risks of the projects, such as potential delays (bad weather? strike action?). Look forward to hearing more about these projects.

Ditto Dave’s comments, regarding lack of station entrances on both sides of the roads. Seems very half-baked to deliver a solution with potential for both road traffic and pedestrian conflict & delays, when it could be avoided. Improvements of this magnitude only happen once in a generation – do it properly.

Not having entrances at both sides of the road will also significantly affect one of the major benefits of the grade separation – reducing road congestion.

The current plan assumes pedestrian lights at the current level crossing locations. At peak hour they will be in constant use to allow passengers to cross the road. So cars will no longer be stopped at the level crossings, but they will be constantly stopped for pedestrians.

I can’t help feeling that the security issues are the same as the DDA issue (*). Sounds good, but on close examination is not that significant. And the issues with not having pedestrian access on both sides are not considered.

(*) Actually the DDA issue is a complete non-issue anyway. The stations will have lifts, ramps and stairs. What would be the problem with putting the lift on one side, and the ramp on the other? DDA compliant on both sides.

@enno – Murray Road currently does not have a pedestrian crossing (indeed, it has never had a pedestrian crossing). So while I agree about the blocking effect of rail lines (and, even worse, major roads) the grade separation is not making anything worse.

I like the idea of using the Sandringham line for part of the replacement journey, but it would require recommissioning platform 1 at Brighton Beach. This would see every second train terminating/beginning its service at Brighton Beach and every other continuing on to Sandringham. A good frequency would be every 3-4mins and would make good use of the trial high capacity signalling on the Sandringham line.

The alternative option is to run non-passenger trains from Flinders St to Sandringham and then back to Brighton Beach turning back in the Sandringham stabling yards. It would have to be a non-passenger service as the current single platform at Sandringham gets congested with its current 7-8min peak headway.

Or you could run it as a passenger service as far as Hampton however this would require staff at Hampton or at the last station it ends at as a passenger service in order to clear any stragglers on board in order to continue onto the Sandringham stabling yards as a non passenger service. The issue with running it as a passenger service as far as Hampton is you would need to efficiently clear the carriages of passengers in time before the train behind catches up, which 3-4 mins should be manageable however this doesn’t account for times when trains run late, thus could hold trains up behind it.

Furthermore turning back trains at Sandringham compared to at Brighton Beach is inefficient use of trains. It takes around 5-6 minutes from Brighton Beach to Sandringham and vice versa, now add 2-3 minutes to turn back the train at Sandringham, you’ve already spent 15 minutes of the train not in service. This is inefficient and a waste of a train which could have ran a few more services along the Sandringham line without necessitating the need for more trains and drivers. As such I would highly recommend the recommissioning of platform 1 at Brighton Beach.

You could remove those iron rusted fences on platform 1 and make it open with myki readers with the bus arriving alongside platform 1 before looping around the car park back out to Beach Road and onto Moorabbin. Seamlessly integrating between the bus and the train

@Aljosa, I don’t think the Sandringham high capacity signalling trial will be ready in time for the closures for the level crossing removals.

In terms of provision for four tracks, the absolutely critical aspect is that there is at least 9,525mm clear between the edge of the new Platform 1 and the cutting wall. Preferably 13,525mm, which would allow for fewer gantries.

Failing that, it might be possible to take advantage of the 230m-provision rule for platform lengths; build the Up-end 160m of platform 2 only, and the Down-end 160m of 1 and 3. Then use the offset space as the entrance from above.
Later, platform 2 can be extended over the middle line to serve track 3, and track 4 can be placed through the alignment of platform 3. Platform 1 can be cut back by an equal amount, so that there is room for two tracks on that side. Result: centre island with stopping tracks (2/3) either side, and express tracks (1/4) adjacent to the cutting walls.

Separate to that: what a shame they decided on a rail-under solution without consulting anybody. If they had allowed for rail-over, it could have been demonstrated to the public that noise and privacy concerns have all been dealt with in other projects, and the pedestrian permeability of the local areas would have improved tremendously. It seems the best summary for this, Blackburn and St Albans projects is that the Government intends to get rid of 20 level crossings by 2018, come hell or high water, and they don’t care if the solutions are any good or not. It’s just an exercise in box-ticking. Sigh.

@Anonymous/@Daniel: I really think we need a new ALCAM study for level crossing danger scores, preferably one that counts pedestrians as a thing that exists, and also takes into account pedestrian crossings. Was the previous batch commissioned by the government?

@Dave, my understanding is that infrastructure on this scale is designed to last 60 years as a rule of thumb.

@Andrew/Daniel: At Nunawading the platform is offset west, and the section under the road is entirely unpaid-area so there’s only one concourse (though there are some myki scanners at platform level as well). At Perth they’ve got multiple exits from some stations, like Joondalup, with barriers installed but left open at the unstaffed end. I suppose it boils down to a gamble: are people who fare-evade going to walk twice the length of the platforms (assuming you’re trying to get to the main end) just to avoid paying a 2hr fare, which works out at about 71¢/minute, minus fare evading penalties.

I do like Andrew’s idea of a ramp at one end and a lift at the other. I don’t know how that would work with regards to the disability legislation though.

When talking about geology, this page has some very useful maps including depth cross-sections of ground conditions:
In particular: – section C-C, note bend just east of Murrumbeena Rd.
That indicates ground conditions of mixed-size sand (code Tpr) for about 175ft under ground level, then about 50ft of high-carbon silts, shell and clay, possibly limestone (Tmn), then at least 450ft of sandstone (Sud). I don’t know anything about water tables though.

@Aljosa/Daniel: Sandringham won’t need the high capacity signalling. It used to run more than twice the current number of trains, even in peak hour. The key change is platform capacity at Flinders Street. In 1939 there were 13x up trains arriving at Flinders Street between 0800-0859, compare to current eight. – warning large file.

Why on earth are they building 3 platforms at Bentleigh?

From one of your blog posts (the one on signage) a while ago, and from occasionally using Patterson, I understand the track/platform usage to be:

1 (west) – up stoppers
2 (middle) – express line, and down stoppers when there’s no expresses
3 (east) – down stoppers when there’s down expresses

As the railway is currently being run, there is no justification for this. It can’t any longer be that one of the tracks has easier access to the Loop and another to Flinders St. direct, because now all Frankstons use the same tracks through the MATH stations (and Pakenham/Cranbourne the other two tracks). It should simply be track 1 up stoppers, track 2 express, and track 3 down stoppers – and that doesn’t require track or signalling changes.

The disadvantages of the current/planned setup are:

– higher build cost
– passenger confusion
– expresses passing platforms at speed instead of on isolated track
– freight could use track 2 during the off-peak (not that I agree with freight still being on the line)
– probable disruption to rebuild the stations if/when a 4th track is added.

Commenter TranzitJim suggested in the earlier blog entry that it might be a hangover from pre-Metcard days when it was cheaper to staff just the one island platform during the day. I think you should press them as to the reason. “Flexibility” isn’t a reason if it’s going to cost more and numerous projects are waiting on funding.

As an Ormond resident, I can’t wait for all the works to be complete and the traffic issues to improve. As a daily commuter though, I dread the major chaos in early 2017. I just can’t wait for it to be all done! Thanks for the info.

I somewhat support the use of freight trains on the same lines too. There is no real reason why they can not share the same tracks.

It would be great to have all these level crossings removed.

I am not anti-level crossing per say, but depending on the railway, and in many cases depending upon the road too, there should be grade separation done. The best cases for railways include, to Dandenong, Ringwood, Cheltenham, Geelong and Wallan. the later, you can get the jump with many green field projects you can do now somewhat cheaply.

I somewhat support the extra tracks for express trains to Cheltenham and Dandenong. I would prefer two stoppers and two express. Having only one for express should be a benefit none the less.

And yes, the current use of platform 2 between Caulfield and Morabbin is a legacy of the pre-metcard days. Just like Oakliegh was in my previous post. I would prefer the middle track used for express trains only, including the freight trains too. Perhaps something more like what is proposed at Laburnum is what we should have here?

I have a question on this – does anyone now what the plans are for the crossings on Glen Huntly Rd and Neerim Rd? Will they stay, or are the roads likely to be blocked off?

I see, Daniel, that short-starting of stoppers from Moorabbin is an elegant hack! I’d call it a good reason for the third platform.

It occurred to me that one reason why they’re not trenching the lot, apart from cost, is that the more you dig the longer the line might be closed. Having once lived in Leila Rd., I can see why you’d like to at least get a bike along Murray. Car access, I’m not so sure about; it could become a rat-run.

@Martin – no plans to do anything whatsoever at Gelnhuntly or Neerim Rds in the next 7½ years, since they weren’t on the Government’s eight-year list. Depending on what happens with Grange, Koornang and Murrumbeena Roads (because of a chain effect), Neerim+Glenhuntly will probably need to be rail-elevated rather than rail-under (they have to be the opposite of the Dandenong line approach, to give vertical clearance for a new junction design at Caulfield).

Hi Daniel
I think that what you mentioned about passengers being able to come up to street level on EITHER north or south of North road (and Centre Road) should be an imperative point to be lobbied to the LXRA. This have so many positive points that i believe it must be done.
Most importantly it will save lives. Without this undoubtedly there will be a pedestrian accident at some time in the future.
Traffic flow will not have to contend with up to 3 pedestrian crossings per shopping centre.
It will be convenient for passengers. It may not be 50% need the southern sides of the said roads but i see it is a large percentage .
The excuse of “viewable by PSO” is not a valid excuse . as the station design is not final yet and there is an invention call CCT cameras. Also the ramp excuse is not too valid either as a single ramp can be built and have a north/south distributor near th e top , a bit like the ramps at Etihad stadium.
Do you know the format of the meeting tomorrow? Will be get a chance for questions without notice. ??

As a Bentleigh resident near the rail line, I was wondering where the track lowering will start to get it below Centre Rd. level? Will they start excavating at say Brewer Rd as they head towards Centre Rd.?

This will be a pain in the bum while it’s being done, but there will be multiple, major benefits long term for rail and road travellers as well as pedestrians and businesses.If you want an idea of what it will look like, have a look at the great new Mitcham and Nunawading stations which have been done in the past few years. Just allow plenty of extra time for the buses which will be invariably slower than the train. One thing to have a a look at is to have something like bus shelters on the platform as Mitcham is a bit of a wind tunnel. It will give at least a few people somewhere to shelter.

Hi Daniel

Thanks for all those details – much appreciated. Obviously in the long term it will be good (I live in McKinnon Rd) but in the shorter term it will be a nightmare. Could you clarify – are you suggesting that the entire Frankston line will be closed for 34 days or only part of it ie. will the trains still run City to Caulfield with buses the rest of the way? Obviously the Dandenong line Caulfield to the City has little to no capacity for any extra commuters.


@Martin A, the crossings at Glen Huntly Rd and Neerim Rd are not on the list of 50 to be done in the ALP’s first two terms, however Nick Staikos said at the forum last night that “they wouldn’t stop at 50” – implying if re-elected in 2022 (as well as 2018), they’d do more crossings.

@Bernie, thanks for raising this issue at the forum last night. It got a good response from the audience, and I hope the project team really are considering the options.

@Steve, I would speculate it would be around there somewhere. Supposedly more detailed plans will be available online soon.

@Stephen, as far as we know, only the section from Moorabbin to Caulfield will be closed for 34 days. It would make sense for them to run trains between Caulfield and the City, though they might get creative with passengers from Moorabbin and further south, for instance a shuttle bus to Brighton Beach and extra trains from there could work quite well.

They did say at the forum last night that they were looking at making car parks available at other locations – in fact they’re already doing this at Caulfield Racecourse for commuters displaced by the closure of car parks at Gardiner (also being grade separated).

Any plans at all to put in proper bicycle parking? When is bicycle infrastructure going to be given anything other than lip service? You get much greater benefit for every dollar spent on bike infrastructure than you do for anything else. It would be short change compared to the project costs. Lets face it, most people only have to travel a few short km’s to get to their train station, at most.

As these stations are lowered, wouldn’t it be sensible to use the space above as extra car parking. This would alleviate congestion of cars parked in the side streets

Nunawading is the gold (or at least silver) standard of recent grade separations. The sense is that the designers put themselves in the shoes of commuters. I say this in relation to three key aspects:
1. There are pedestrian entrances (including lifts) on both sides of the road. This means commuters do not have to wait for pedestrian lights and road traffic does not have to wait for pedestrians.
2. There is an island platform, which I think increases the sense of security for commuters and means that if one of the lifts is out of order, the other can be used (unlike a pair of platforms with one lift each – like Mitcham)
3. The aesthetic design (trackside landscaping, extensive use of timber, etc)

I’m staggered that the default design for grade separations does not include pedestrian entrances on each side of the road. Without the multiple entrances, the benefits of the project are minimised, as pedestrian signals will delay both commuters and motorists (tempting dangerous crossing by commuters anxious to reach an arriving train).

Mitcham Station is an example of a station which was obviously designed by someone who was never going to use it. It is certainly spacious and DDA compliant. However, what grates is the monolithic grey nature of the building and funnelling of commuters across the road via a single pedestrian crossing (instead of the de facto double pedestrian crossing available either side of the old level crossing).

I’d be interested if anyone can shed light on why most of the recent grade separation projects have not used island platforms.

@Alex, the plans on show a few days ago included bike cages.

@Tim, Nunawading isn’t bad, but the roof over the platform doesn’t actually work for keeping out the weather.

I’ve been told that island platforms have been avoided because it makes adding future entrances more difficult, but that sounds more like an excuse than an actual reason because the entrances should be added as part of the initial project. I suppose it’s possible that side platforms allow things like shelters to be mounted on the cutting walls, rather than needing a separate set of columns down the middle – but there are ways around that, like an allover arch roof.

All absorbed with interest – but can someone give us any information about the Burke Rd project? Particularly the construction timetable. I travel through there on the train twice each day, and I would like to know when and for how long the line is to be closed, and what gap is going to have bustitution. Hopefully it won’t be Darling to Burnley – Darling has the only rail crossover between Burnley and Glen Waverley. Bus from East Malvern to Alamein makes sense, as it is almost walking distance, but they would need to improve the current 20 minute peak period service on the Alamein line.

I live in Glen Huntley and can’t wait for the Dorothy underpass to close! so many people fly down there especially at school pick up time or between 4-7pm it’s so loud and awful! at last people won’t be able to use our little street in Woodville Avenue as their short cut road. I also wish the shops at end of street would find somewhere else to park :) although I think they are putting 2 hour restrictions on that………… great!! :) oh plus of course fantastic to have the train underground and can’t believe this wasn’t done a long time ago..

@Kate, the Dorothy Avenue underpass will definitely still allow cyclists and pedestrians. It may also provide for cars… they’re still trying to figure that out. If you *don’t* want cars, be sure to provide that feedback to the Level Crossing Removal Authority.

Daniel, thanks so much for your very informative blog. My post is in relation to the Dorothy Ave underpass. In particular, Kate’s comment from last Sunday and your response. I am a resident of Oakleigh Rd. I have been eagerly awaiting the removal of the underpass since I first saw the plans for it to be changed- at a North Rd level crossing removal information session in February 2013. A few weeks ago, I attended another information session and was advised by an LXRA representative that a decision re: retaining or removing the underpass “would be made in 6 weeks”. I gather there is a campaign by some locals (and David Southwick, the local State MP) to retain the underpass for cars. I have already e-mailed LXRA to inform them of my eagerness for the underpass to be changed to bikes and pedestrians only. I have also e-mailed David Southwick. It appears all I can do now is cross my fingers …. Cheers!

There used to be a pedestrian underpass at Murray Road. We used to cross there in the 1960’s with our bikes.

Why isn’t the Glenhuntly Road crossing being removed?
All trains slow right down at Glenhuntly Road so they don’t jump the tracks on the tram square. Cars and trams are held up and are banked back to over Grange Road. It’s one of the worse level crossings on the line.
If it is because of the gradient up to Caulfield, then put a vehicle bridge at Neerim Road and pinch a bit of the racecourse land to add a on/off ramps to Queens Avenue.

As a resident of Royal Avenue who resides directly opposite the Dorothy Road underpass, I’m wanting to ascertain if they do decide to remove the under pass for cars, then will we be compensated with a right hand turning lane on North road for the hundreds of cars needing to venture south of the train line? Aside from the morning /afternoon school peak, the underpass usage isn’t an issue and I for one don’t want to see its removal (90% of my journeys are south…). I have been trying to find out what the traffic plan will be but haven’t been able to ascertain if there will be consideration given at the junction once completed. The early works at North Road have put in a pedestrian crossing but if they don’t compensate the removal of Dorothy Avenue to go South, then that puts all the residents in the area in quite a jam.

As a resident of Royal Ave I travel by tram to the city every day for work was wonder if there will be an upgrade of the Glen Huntly station as you can be stuck waiting for the trains for 10 minutes in the morning. For similar reasoning am hoping that the Dorothy Rd underpass will remain, at least for local use to avoid the congestion of the traffic waiting for the train at Glen Huntly station.
I can appreciate some locals wanting to remove the underpass due to the excess traffic trying to avoid the trains, but I believe once the station upgrades from Ormond are finished it will eliminate people doing this as would not be beneficial for their travel. Surely having access to a popular sports ground would also render the underpass a necessity.

The Dorothy Avenue underpass must be retained as it serves as an important west-east connection and not to mention access to the football oval car park.

It wouldn’t be an issue if Newham Grove joined up to Dorothy Avenue, but given the history behind it (Rosstown), it is an important piece of history.

There are already traffic calming measures (ie speed humps) on Dorothy and Royal Avenue. Traffic is not any worse there than in neighbouring streets.

McKinnon does not have a traders association and as such we have been left out of the loop 1)regarding consultation 2)updates of progress 3)notification of meetings.

@Janet, you should get in touch with Nick Staikos’s office. My understanding is that someone from Son Of A Birch and possibly other traders in Mckinnon are representing Mckinnon traders on the Stakeholder group.

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